First week in Hawaii

After our
enforced extra two days on Tahiti, we finally reached our next destination,
Hawaii, via Los Angeles, on Thursday 17th June. Our itinerary
included four of the major Hawaiian islands, starting in Oahu which is the most
populated and has the main city, Honolulu. Because of our delayed arrival, and
the difficulty of changing inter-island flights, we added two extra days in
Oahu at the end of our trip, in order to complete our itinerary.  This unfortunately means that we will not be able
to have our planned two-day stopover in San Francisco, and will miss out on
meeting up with Ian’s cousin Pamela.

Our revised Hawaii
itinerary involves a short stay on Oahu, followed by visits to three other islands:
Kaua’i, Maui and Hawai’i (Big Island), and then another short stay on Oahu. This
section of the blog covers the first week – three nights on Oahu and four on

After the tense
business of finally getting away from Tahiti, an overnight flight to LA, a long
wait at the airport and a 5-hour flight back across the Pacific to Honolulu, we
arrived fairly shattered. We had just enough energy to leave our hotel in
Waikiki to totter into the first food outlet we found, named the Big Kahuna.
After a good night’s sleep we set off next day for our two-day tour of Oahu
island, staying at the north end in a plush resort called Turtle Bay on the
intervening night. (Accommodation in Hawaii is very varied, depending on what
we could find.)  The main highlights of
that trip included snorkelling at Hanauma Bay, a flooded volcanic crater, which
is the only beach we’ve ever visited where you have to sit through an
orientation video before they’ll allow you on the beach.

We visited a
couple of other beaches on the way round, as well as the remains of an ancient
Hawaiian temple, and did some walking in the hills and ridges on the northeast
coast. But the main highlight for us was walking out to Ka’ena Point, at the
extreme west end of Oahu. There we found some impressive scenery, but also
wildlife. We saw a monk seal, and a young albatross learning to fly, and
altogether it was pretty magical. That night we returned to Waikiki, and the next
day we flew off to the next island, Kaua’i, by a local airline Islandair. This
was a little plane, like the ones we used to fly around New Zealand in or the
ones that fly between the islands in French Polynesia.

Once we reached
Kaua’i we drove round the island to the Koke’e State Park, where we had booked
a cabin for the night. This is on the edge of Waimea Canyon, dubbed the ‘Grand
Canyon of the Pacific’. We did a hike that evening where we got some great
views into the canyon, and also went to a viewpoint where we saw an amazing
sunset. The next day we did another hike, this time right into the canyon and
down to the river. Waimea Canyon is very similar to the Grand Canyon in
structure and appearance, but a lot smaller. Even so, the hike back up to the
top was quite strenuous.

On the south
coast we saw an impressive blowhole called Spouting Horn, which shoots
fountains of water into the air at regular intervals as waves crash into a cave
below. We drove round to the north coast and visited a seabird sanctuary,
before doing part of a famous hike along the inaccessible and rugged Na Pali
part of the north coast. The path was muddy and slippery, requiring great
care.  We only did two miles each way,
but got some good views of the coast, although the weather was rather wet.

On our final day
on the island we took a helicopter tour of the island, flying over some of the
most impressive scenery. The flight lasted an hour, and we got some spectacular
views, although Ian (who doesn’t like helicopters) was terrified the whole
time. After that it was time to hand back the hire car and fly off to the next
island – Maui.

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